Archive for the ‘People/HR’ Category

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

Anytime, Anywhere Work Survey

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

Convergence Coaching has announced the release of the 2022 ConvergenceCoaching® Anytime, Anywhere Work™ (ATAWW) Survey Results Summary! In its sixth edition, the ATAWW Survey examines the adoption of flexible work practices in accounting firms across the country.

The 2022 survey featured a series of questions exploring ATAWW programs as well as remote client service, non-traditional staffing strategies, and cultural shifts required. Some interesting findings include: 

  • 95% offer remote auditing, and the percentage who performed more than half their audits away from the client site soared from 14% in 2020 to 54% in 2022
  • 83% of firms allow Admin and Operations to work remote or blended
  • 81% who employ remote talent hired a “stranger” outside their geography (up from 38% in 2020)
  • 73% don’t dictate when extra hours are worked (no more mandatory Saturdays!)
  • 19% offer Unlimited PTO
  • 12% close the office between Christmas and New Year’s

The full Survey Results Summary is now available for download. In addition, they collected even more interesting data that could not be included in our Survey Results Summary. Click here to access the Anytime, Anywhere Work Bonus Content page. There is also an Accounting Today podcast on the survey results.

  • If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.
  • Henry Ford

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

How Skilled Are Your Managers?

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” – Albert Einstein

This week for the Friday Flashback, I am going way back to 2010 and a post that asks: Do you have magnificent managers? The sad thing is this post still applies today, 2023!

I know you are busy, but find some time this weekend to recharge your batteries.

  • Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

Be Aware

“The paperless office is possible, but not by imitating paper. Note that the horseless carriage did not work by imitating horses.” – Ted Nelson

How much do new college graduates know about life?

You are desperately seeking these accounting majors for your firm. You might be surprised at what they do not know about general life skills that are put to use in the business world. Many times have you heard them say, “I never learned that in college!”

I recently heard a story from a grandmother about her granddaughter, a college student. I was amazed, but I think the more you know about your talent pool, the better you will be able to understand, manage, and mentor them.

A baby boomer lady was driving accompanied by her 20-year-old granddaughter, a college student. The lady couldn’t find a U.S. Postal Service dark blue mailbox where she could simply pull up and deposit her (paper) mail. She parked a couple of parking spaces away and asked her granddaughter to get out of the car, walk a few steps and put a letter into the mailbox. From the sidewalk side of the mailbox, as you know, you simply use the handle to open the mailbox and drop in the letter. The granddaughter admitted she had never mailed a letter this way and couldn’t figure out how to get the letter into the mailbox. Grandma had to give her specific instructions.

As your new recruits arrive in the office, you already know that you have to teach them SO much. Sometimes the little things are very baffling to them. Be patient. They are accustomed to a paperless world.

  • I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.
  • Socrates

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

The Cost of Recruiting

“Stay calm and aggressive.” – Gabrielle Reece

Today, I am just sharing some interesting comments I have heard recently about how some firms respond to the huge challenge of recruiting new team members.

These examples are not from small firms, nor are they from huge firms. The comments are from what I call mid-size firms.

  • One firm works with seven different professional recruiters.
  • Another firm paid over $300,000 to recruiters in 2022.

Maybe you don’t have to go to these links, but I hope you are acting aggressively when recruiting.

  • Certainly, if you look at human behavior around the world, you have to admit that we can be very aggressive.
  • Jane Goodall

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

Keeping Them

“The responsibility of a company is to serve the customer. The responsibility of leadership is to serve their people so that their people may better serve the customer. If leaders fail to serve their people first, both customer and company will suffer.” – Simon Sinek

You have worked hard to attract enough talent to be able to master this coming tax season. Now, you have to work at keeping them.

Per an article via Bloomberg, there are five benefits US employees want:

  1. Remote work
  2. Flexibility
  3. Sustainable work
  4. Financial health
  5. Job security

The CPA profession offers so many key benefits. I be you’ve got these!

Read the article to learn more about each one of these five.

  • I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.
  • Thomas Edison

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

What Attracts People To Your Firm?

“Be thankful for problems. If they were less difficult, someone with less ability might have your job.” – Jim Lovell

I’m not talking about what attracts clients to your firm. I wonder what your people would say if you asked why they stay at your firm. Not a full-blown employee satisfaction survey like the best places to work surveys. I’ve never been convinced that these are always truthful.

I mean a few simple questions as part of your stay interview initiative.

Dan Rockwell (@Leadershipfreak) gives us three enlightening questions to ask each of your team members. Try asking these questions randomly, one at a time, when interacting with individuals.

  • If you recommended our company as a good place to work to a friend, what would you say?
  • What do you enjoy most about your job? Least?
  • How much of your day are you using your strengths?
  • A lot of people quit looking for work as soon as they find a job.
  • Zig Ziglar

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023


“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” – Dale Carnegie

Since 2020, CPAs have experienced more emotions in their work lives than ever before. 2020 opened up a new world for how accountants and their teams work. While accountants are pictured as stoic, and many are, the pandemic brought forth emotions not usually experienced in the CPA profession.

The rapid growth of technology advancements and the unveiling of various programs and applications that could do work more quickly, efficiently, and profitably than humans caused some concern for many.

Owners are concerned about having enough workers and having workers who want to work remotely. Employees are concerned that their desire to have a significantly more flexible work schedule will not be accepted by their bosses.

So many changes have happened and continue to happen for both for the firm owners and employees. Some of the changes came easily, and some did not. Some are still struggling with changes other CPA firms changed 25 years ago.

Identifying how people feel and how they are best managed is so important. It is time to revisit your emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. The term was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey but was later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman.

Read more about EQ in this blog post from 2019. Read the quotes above again.

  • CEOs are hired for their intellect and business expertise – and fired for a lack of emotional intelligence.
  • Daniel Goleman

Thursday, December 29th, 2022

Be Competitive With Holidays

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

This time of year, there is always talk about holidays. “We get Christmas Eve off.” “We only get a half day on Christmas Eve.” Those kinds of comments flow among your workforce and their friends and relatives.

Are you competitive when it comes to holidays for your employees? There was a recent discussion on the CPAFMA discussion board. By the way, it is worth your membership fee to get access to the discussion board. Some firms reported offering as few as seven paid holidays. I recommend that you provide nine or ten, and several firms do provide that many.

Of course, religious holidays make a difference in some firms, as do state observances.

Here’s a standard 10-day holiday menu offered by CPA firms:

  • January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • The first Friday after April 15th – Tax Holiday
  • May – Memorial Day
  • July – Independence Day
  • September – Labor Day
  • November – Thanksgiving
  • November – The day after Thanksgiving
  • December – Christmas Eve
  • December – Christmas Day
  • Floating – The birthday of the employee or other reason

We all know and have complained about how many holidays Federal employees receive, probably because we don’t get mail on those days. Here’s the Federal holiday listing for 2023. Notice they don’t get the day after Thanksgiving, nor Christmas Eve.

Monday, January 02 * New Year’s Day
Monday, January 16 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, February 20  Washington’s Birthday
Monday, May 29 Memorial Day
Monday, June 19 Juneteenth National Independence Day
Tuesday, July 04 Independence Day
Monday, September 04 Labor Day
Monday, October 09 Columbus Day
Friday, November 10 * Veterans Day
Thursday, November 23 Thanksgiving Day
Monday, December 25 Christmas Day
If a holiday falls on a Saturday, for most Federal employees, the preceding Friday will be treated as a holiday for pay and leave purposes. If a holiday falls on a Sunday, for most Federal employees, the following Monday will be treated as a holiday for pay and leave purposes.

I have observed that no matter how generous with holidays and PTO you are with your employees, in a CPA firm, the work always has to get done – and it does.

Enjoy the long New Year’s holiday weekend – Happy New Year!

  • You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.
  • Maya Angelou

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Upgrade Your Employee Benefits

“Leadership requires the courage to make decisions that will benefit the next generation.” – Alan Autry

CPA firms are trying many things to win the war for talent. So many firms have definitely increased current salaries, increased the salary offer to new graduates, and given stay bonuses to valued team members.

Money talks, but it does take more than salary dollars to win and keep good people.

One issue that I have noticed recently is that CPA firms do pay 100% of the health insurance premium for their employee. Health insurance is available for the employee’s family, but they must pay a significant part of that premium. Also, many firms do not offer dental or vision.

Maybe insurance is something you should review as you begin a new year. Is there more you can do in this area? Perhaps your main competitors are not offering dental/vision. Being generous with your insurance benefits might make you unique in your marketplace and help you attract and keep talented people.

What about the rest of your employee benefits package? Is there more you can do to make the entire benefits package more impressive?

  • He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies.
  • Tertullian

Monday, December 5th, 2022

Tough vs. Wimpy

“If there’s one thing I learned from Rodrick, it’s to set people’s expectations real low so you end up surprising them by practically doing nothing at all.”
― Jeff Kinney,  Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I have observed this often. Current CPA firm partners “grew up” in a taskmaster culture. The partners that supervised them were tough. Or, to put it nicely, they were challenging and hard to please. They set very high standards. They expected hard work and dedication to the firm and the profession.

Then, over time, those young CPAs became partner themselves. They didn’t want to continue the “tough” firm culture. So, the pendulum began to swing in the other direction. The firm became less aggressive, yet it continued to grow and prosper. The partners became what you might call wimpy. They avoided confrontation with staff and with each other. They became complacent.

I heard from a person at a successful firm recently that the firm is the “Yes” firm. They never say “No” to any request from an employee. Of course, this is because of the extreme labor shortage in the profession right now.

Does never saying “No” sound like a long-term plan? Maybe. But is it too much like the “everybody gets a trophy” culture that really isn’t how life works? Does it punish the all-stars for the comfort of the poor performers?

I am hoping that your firm fits somewhere between tough and wimpy.

  • Mom is always saying I'm a smart kid, but that I just don't apply myself.
  • Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid